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Tax guy, host & producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, former co-host of the Wall Street Journal E-Report

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Finally, a Royal worth something


As a longtime Royal fan and as a person who spent the better part of his life "investing" in sports cards (hopefully someone doesn't lose his lunch with that comment), I'm happy to see a Royal card that's NOT the 1975 George Brett "mini" that's actually worth some money. Apparently, Topps overlooked a recent contractual agreement prohibiting "rookie" sports cards from being produced unless the player had either played in the majors the year before, or opened the 2006 season on the 25 man roster. Alex Gordon did neither. After realizing their error, Topps pulled the card off the market. The law of supply and demand kicked in and the card price skyrocketed. The fact that Gordon is a hot prospect has only helped matters...but don't worry, the Royals farm system will reduce his name to a mere novelty in a few years.

As a sports fan since...oh...forever, I've collected cards since I was about four. In fact, I think it was a 1973-74 Gregg Sheppard card...for whatever reason...that inspired me to become a Bruins fan. Now that I think about it, I can probably blame that bastard for years of heartache, but that's a different topic. Anyway, I was hooked on cards at an early age and had a gold mine on my hands when the market actually became profitable in the mid-late eighties. Unfortunately, I was still well addicted up until about 2001 or so...well after the market stalled when people started to realize, "wait a minute....why am I paying $75 for a card that's been mass produced into the millions?"...which meant that I promptly threw whatever profit I might have made right out the window.

So being a longtime sucker, I'm a bit skeptical of this move by Topps. In fact, I've tended to be suspicious of "error" cards since the late eighties and early nineties when they seemed to be commonplace among card manufacturers. It seemed that most card sets between Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Score and Upper Deck seemed had at least two or three cards in it that had either a reversed image, a missing position listing, a mispelling, a wrong photo, etc. What card collector can ever forget the infamous Billy Ripken "FUCK FACE" card in 1989? Although mistakes can happen, these companies were well aware that changing a card mid-production run created two (sometimes more) scarce cards on the marketplace. And the prospect of landing a rare card brought more people out to buy their product.

So thanks for the rare Alex Gordon card Topps, but I ain't buying it...figuratively or literally. Besides, the last Royals rookie named Gordon I invested heavily in is now pitching for the Phillies...and I think I own about 17 of the 5,000,000 cards produced of him that year. And as I speak, someone on eBay's willing to part with 25 of the premium Upper Decks of that year for $7.99. Throw in the $2.00 S/H and that comes to $9.99...or roughly 40 cents a card.

2 Comments:

Blogger Flexo said...

I used to collect cards, and most of my collection is sitting in my closet. Someone was going to buy the whole collection from me a few years ago we never worked it out. My cards are all 1986-1990 Topps, with some Donruss and Fleer mixed in... interested?

5/04/2006 8:57 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

If you had collected card sin the 70's, I'd probably say yes. But those cards from the late eighties to early nineties were at the peak of overproduction. I think you can still buy a box of '89 Donruss for about $5. For 17 year old cards, that's saying something. in 1989, a box of 1972 Topps would have gone for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

5/04/2006 9:26 PM  

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